2008/9, bloggin' on



Well there you go, one ships spilt cargo, shitloads of timber washed up on our shores, and what happens ?, out come the old bill, helicopters, 4 by 4's, foot patrols, and all just to stop Joe public from a bit of wood salvaging. Never mind that real crime continues unchecked by our constabulary, just get out there and make sure no one gets something for nothing off the beach.

Happily you only have to walk down the beach at night, under the illuminating full moon, to see just what the locals think of it all. It was like an army of ants industriously stripping the shores of all they could carry, excellent!

Once again another classic 'own goal' on the part of the establishment, falling on the side of business over the people that actually pay their wages, although not on this occasion they'll be quick to remind you, the ships insurers are allegedly covering the bill, missing the point entirely that the police are supposed to be the servants of the people, not their bleedin' overlords. So, apparently, if you have enough money you can hire out an entire police force now. I'll bet the scumbag criminal fraternity were rubbing their sticky thieving fingers when they saw where all the old bill would be over the next few days, I'd be interested to see the crime figures for this particular period if they're ever allowed to be released.

Image: Timber galore washed up at Worthing, January 2008


For a change I thought I’d put a blog up to follow our progress as we take on a loft conversion to first fix stage for our latest client, here it is.

The ‘drop’

With Travis making us first drop on Saturday morning, we had a good start to prep everything for a Monday kick off, but not without a hiccup of course. Half the timber ordered hadn’t been loaded, most of which were the joisting timbers we’d need first, apparently it had to come from another branch, not that we were informed beforehand. Still, we would have enough to get things going come Monday morning, provided the rest of the materials turned up then. So with all the wood stacked and tarped up, we opened up an entrance in the roof and weathered it back in, so no bothering the residents by knocking on their door first thing.

Day one. Monday 7th April

After that snowfall on Sunday it was a tad chilly first thing, but we soon warmed up bumping piles of timber into the loft for the joisting. The steels turned up mid morning, which we had drilled out and ready to place by the afternoon, setting out keeps the brain working, but all fairly straight forward stuff. The owners, ‘Andy and Sarah’, setting the standard for tea and coffee from day one, “just shout when you want one”, always a good sign.

Travis turned up with the rest of the delivery from Saturday last thing, so all hands to loading the timber into the racks and weathered in ready for the next day, a good physical day all in all.

Image: Cold start Monday

Day two. Tuesday 8th April

Still fairly chilly starts, frost on the windscreen first thing, but beaut weather after that. Me, Beau, and Ed had all the steels in and two thirds through the joisting, while Andy set about ripping out the remainder of his loft plumbing, tanks, pipes, lagging, and insulation.
Feeding us with toast, as well as continuous hot drinks as required, nice.

Image: Steels and joisting taking shape

Day three. Wednesday 9th April

Glorious weather today, always improves the outlook. Having completed all the steels and joisting, we set off to order the roofing materials for delivery, grab a decent full English breakfast at Carats café over on Southwick beach, then pick up a velux window to fit in the afternoon. The roofers normally fit these but we thought we’d sort it this time in their absence, we got it in ok, but with a little help from Mark Hemsley, our roofer, who just happened to turn up last thing to check on things prior to his boys turning up next day to strip our roof for us.

Image: Dwarf walls in and roof light ready to go

Day four. Thursday 10th April

More decent weather, a seven o clock start, and Mark and his boys fairly tore into our roof, having it stripped in little over an hour between them, leaving myself, Beau and Ed to extend the roof out to a barn end gable in time for them to return later and weather it in. It wasn’t a struggle exactly, but it wasn’t a day of hanging around either. The day went well, with all targets achieved, and lively banter along the way, not least of which came from one of Mark’s lads, Wesley, taking the mickey out of me and Beau, “who’s the wife?”, and “my money’s on the midget”. Another good day at the office, even an enquiry at the end regarding another possible job from an impressed neighbour, there’s no better advert for us than a job in progress.

Image: Mark n the boys at about 7a.m

Image: End of play, April 10th 2008

Right, well it's Tuesday night now, and after a hectic few days collar I'm officially cream crackered!. After the 'Big Thursday', we gave ourselves an easy (ish) Friday's work load, just tying up a few loose ends and preparing for the 'Big Monday' dormer pull out. All good, or so we thought. Owing to a lapse in memory on the part of the roofers, we were on our own to strip off before cracking on with the dormer, they've never let me down before, but there you go. So we're behind from the starters pistol. Nonetheless we motored along, forming the new dormer before we could rip out the old rafters under glorious sunshine, at first. Later on in the day we were watching nervously as a huge dirty cloud was making it's way towards us from Lancing College, sheets of rain evident from the ground up, and coming at pace with an ever increasing wind.

The sweat was running freely as we fought to get the box covered in tarpaulins before we got hit, and almost as soon as we had the job weathered we were under a blanket of hail stones and thunderous rain, but the house was safe, bar a few minor drips which the buckets caught.

So with the time lost to weathering and unweathering after the worst had passed, we were properly under the cosh by then. Fortunately Mark and his lads turned up at the end of the day to help us weather everything back in properly. But we were working til 7.30 before we finally pulled the pin and went home, I went straight to the pub, greatly in need of a beer or two, and not really interested in food after that day.

Mercifully today (Tuesday 15th) was infinitely better, so we could untarp and complete the flat roof ready for the the roofers to weather in tomorrow. Even getting inside and tying things up in there at the end of the day, all good.

Andy cooked us all a mean breakfast in appreciation of our efforts, which went down a treat. Although the pace has taken it's toll on moi, currently feeling rough as old boots, and looking forward to some rest at the end of this job.

Image: Monday, first thing

Image: A little later Monday morning

Tuesday 22nd April

Although you can see the progess from the pictures, I haven't written up the job for a week owing to a bit of 'Manflu'. Lungs coughed up, and head now back in order, ish, I can update. Not a huge amount to write really, just to say that we're on the finishing touches to the first fix stage, almost ready to hand over to Andy to finish off at his leisure, christmas 2012? in time to let rooms out for the olympics?, watch this space!

We made a couple of adjustments to the layout at Andy and Sarah's request, making a bit more space for their new bedroom, and thus altering the staircase run, but not too disastrous as the stairs had only just been started at the joiner shop, hopefully not too much of a sting for the extra work entailed. But if you're going to have alterations, then now's the time to do it!

Everything still going according to plan, should be done by the end of the week, weather permitting.

Image: Roof exterior finished

Sunday May 11th, A Golden day

Waiting in the mid morning sun, looking out over Kingston Bay it had a Mediterranean feel with almost no breeze, sea as calm as a mill pond, and us few watching the Lifeboat Station, eagerly awaiting the warning bells that give notice the Lifeboat is about to launch, together with the healthy roar of its engines. Then the James Bibby shoots down the slipway and ploughs into the River Adur, pushing great walls of white water to its sides, settles into her stride and heads out to the Shoreham Harbour entrance with crew and passengers, but it's no emergency today. Two quite special passengers on this trip, my Ma n Pa, John and Lavender Ramus, who just recently celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary. They asked friends and relatives not to give presents, but any contributions towards Shoreham’s new Lifeboat Station appeal would be greatly appreciated, the upshot being that an impressive 1583.32p was raised on the night we celebrated their 50 years of marriage. Huge thanks to all who contributed so generously.

They “had great fun going down the slipway!” as Squire (Da) said later, and the Lifeboat crew even let Squire take the helm and steer the James Bibby to Brighton Marina. All in all a glorious end to a glorious weekend, and one more story in the glorious life of Ma n Pa.

Image: Shoreham's temporary lifeboat 'James Bibby' hits the water

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